Himalayan Art Resources

Subject: New Schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Sarma)

New Buddhist Schools Main Page | Vajrayana Buddhism

The Three Principal New Schools:
- New Schools Description (below)
- Sakya
- Kagyu
- Gelug

All New Schools & Lineages that stand Apart:
- Bodong
- Cho & Zhije
- Drigung Kagyu
- Drugpa Kagyu
- Drugpa Kagyu (Bhutan)
- Dzongpa (Gongkar), Sakya
- Gelug
- Jonang
- Kadam
- Karma Kagyu
- Ngor, Sakya
- Sakya
- Shalu/Bulug
- Shangpa Kagyu
- Tsar, Sakya
- Taglung Kagyu
- Zhije & Cho
- Others....

Subjects, Topics & Types:
- Buddhist Religious System of Tibet (Outline)
- Religious Traditions: Tibet (Outline)
- Religious Traditions (Outline)
- Common Buddhist Symbol Sets (Outline)
- Buddhist Number Sets & Lists
- Tibet Maps Index
- Confusions
- Others...

A traditional yet simple method of categorizing and cataloging the various Tibetan Religious Schools (Traditions) is to divide them into the Old (Nyingma) and New (Sarma) Schools. The Old refers to the early Buddhist teachings of Tibet that began during the time of Trisong Detsen, Shantarakshita and Padmasambhava in the 8th century. The New refers to the teachings that entered Tibet in the 10th century with teachers such as Rinchen Zangpo, Atisha, Gayadhara, Drogmi Lotsawa, Marpa Lotsawa and others.

The New Schools are generally listed as Kadam, Sakya, Marpa Kagyu, Shangpa Kagyu, Jonang and Gelug. There are of course many minor traditions and lineages of teachings. The Kadam School was later absorbed into the Kagyu and Sakya traditions and then later into the Gelug. Today the New Schools are popularly counted as the Sakya, Kagyu and Gelug. The Nyingma stands alone as the only Old School. Together these four: [1] Nyingma. [2] Sakya, [3] Kagyu and [4] Gelug are popularly known as the Four Buddhist Schools (or Traditions) of Tibet.

Jeff Watt [updated 8-2019]